I just enjoyed a fun afternoon out with the HST Team at Kerri Gallery. Connecting as friends and co-workers without the pressures of making a living in sales was so much more fun than I anticipated. Was it because we sorely needed it after a hard-fought 2017 and an insanely cold winter? I was so grateful that it seemed so easy for all of us to put our phones away and focus on the task at hand: relax and have fun.
This got me to thinking how hard is it to be a real estate agent? How many hours per day, days per week, weekends and evenings does an agent have to work to make a living wage? And what do consumers think this job entails? Granted, the level of financial success a Realtor will attain is influenced by market prices and conditions but there is still much to be responsible for and at the mercy of when considering a career in real estate. This got me thinking about some common misconceptions about real estate agents:
- Agents are employees of the company or franchise that they work for.
- Agents make easy money and lots of it.
- There are minimal out-of-pocket expenses in real estate.
- Real estate is not a sales position.
- Real Estate sales does not require any training.
- Real estate sales is the perfect job for moonlighters.
- All of your friends, acquaintances and family will throw all their real estate business your way once you’re licensed.
- Realtors are independent contractors and share commissions with the office they work with.
- There is no weekly paycheck, insurance benefits or 401k.
- Agents pay their own quarterly income taxes-no FICA match.
- There are numerous out-of-pocket expenses, including promotional signs, memberships and dues, advertising, gasoline, postage, computers and software, copies, photographers and referral fees to name a few.
- On-going training is necessary to stay abreast of market changes and trends and continuing education is mandatory to remain licensed.
- Real Estate is a sales position. If you are not a party to a real estate purchase or sale that actually closes, you don’t get paid.
- A successful career in real estate sales is not something that is obtained on weekends and after you’ve completed your “real job” on weekdays.
- The rejection is cutting or the silence is deafening when you fully expect those closest to you to trust you with the sale or purchase of their most valued asset. If family and friends do flock to you once you’re licensed to buy and sell real estate, proceed with caution as experience tells me they will likely be your most difficult clients.
Now that I have disabused you of the notion of the over-paid and under-skilled Realtor, I ask that you consider all of the above when choosing an agent to work within a purchase or sale of real estate. Look around you. Look for names. Look for signs. Look at your school. Look at work. Look local. Don’t hire Zillow. Hire us.